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Mortician's mistress expresses regret over slaying

Posted November 25, 2008

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— A Nash County woman said a funeral home owner exercised such control over her that she ignored her better judgment and gunned down his wife two years ago because he asked her to do it.

In her first public statements since she and Mark Bowling were convicted of the Dec. 8, 2006, shooting death of Julie Bowling, Rose Vincent said she still loves Mark Bowling but will always regret going along with his murder plot.

"I never did it for money, never did. I did it because I loved him blindly," Vincent told WRAL News in an exclusive interview from North Carolina Correctional Institution for Women.

Vincent pleaded guilty in February to second-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder and is serving at least 29 years in prison.

Mark Bowling, the former owner of several Bowling Funeral Home operations in eastern North Carolina, pleaded guilty in September to the same charges and was sentenced to 189 to 236 months in prison. His plea came shortly before Vincent was to testify against him during his high-profile trial.

The sentencing disparity irritates Vincent, who says Bowling masterminded the shooting. He provided her with a map and instructions on how to carry out the crime while he was away on a scuba-diving trip, and he even offered to pay her $50,000, she said.

“He’s the reason, really, why she’s dead, and it really bothers me the fact that we didn’t get at least the same sentence,” she said. “This was his plan. This was his baby. This was his everything. The difference was he didn’t have the (guts) to pull the trigger.”

Both the Nash County District Attorney’s Office and Bowling’s attorneys declined to comment on Vincent’s comments.

Vincent, 28, said she and Bowling had an off-and-on affair since she was 19, despite the fact that each was married and that Vincent had children.

“At the time, I thought it was great, but ‘I love you’ is just words,” she said in a voice tinged with bitterness.

Eventually, she said, Bowling became the center of her life, and when he asked her to kill his wife, she couldn’t refuse.

“I put Mark in the place of God, so when he told me it was either his life or Miss Julie’s, it was like, what on earth am I going to do?” she said.

Shooting Julie Bowling in the garage of the Bowling home was like an out-of-body experience, Vincent said.

“It was like I was standing beside myself, and there was nothing I could do to stop it,” she said. “I heard Mark’s voice in my head saying, ‘You got to keep shooting her until the gun stop.’”

After her arrest, she tried to shield Bowling from the investigation until deputies told her he had implicated her in the slaying.

Bowling’s attorneys maintained through the beginning of his murder trial that Vincent killed Julie Bowling on her own because she had a "fatal attraction" for Mark Bowling and had to get his wife out of the way so she could be with him.

The murder investigation and convictions have dulled her feelings for Bowling.

“I still love him, but I got a lot of hate for him at the same time,” she said, noting that she was sharing her story so that other women could avoid falling into a similar situation.

Instead of all-consuming love, she said, she is filled with gnawing regret over murdering for love.

“It’s something that I have to live with for the rest of my life … to know that I played God,” she said. “I wish my doubts, I wish my conscience, I wish everything inside of me that I was raised to be would have overridden (Bowling’s voice in her head), but it didn’t.

“I am truly sorry, but a million sorries is never going to fix it.”

44 Comments

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  • teacher-mom Nov 26, 4:09 p.m.

    They both need to be on death row. Adultry is never right. Maybe if more pressure went to saving marriages and not worrying about divorce, so many people would not be living in poverty. Let's see; divorce is just breaking a contract....

  • Bulldog22 Nov 26, 1:55 p.m.

    First rule of love, a man that truly loves a woman would never ask a woman to commit a crime.

    My mama has always told me that if a man will do it with you, they will also do it to you, (in regards to cheating) so did Rose really think that if Julie was out of the picture that Mark wouln't turn around a few years later and have his next mistress shoot her too?

  • Bulldog22 Nov 26, 1:41 p.m.

    She says she played God- the Devil is what she played.
    and she is irritated that he got less time than her, well that is what happens when one person pulls the trigger alone while the other is out of town.
    I sincerely hope that her children did not inherit her stupidity gene.
    I continue to pray for her children, they will forever know that their "mother" -and I use that term loosely, loved some sorry weak man more than she loved being free with them living life and being a mom. She is a poor excuse for a human being and I resent that my tax dollars are being spent keeping this murderer alive on my dime. A better use of her time in prison would be to try to figure out how she will ever look her children in the eye knowing that she chose a cowardly man over them.

  • twc Nov 26, 10:04 a.m.

    I didn't read one word of sympathy expressed for Julie Bowling, only her own selfish thoughts. Did Julie Bowling have any words before this selfish thing shot her down in cold blood?

    Why wasn't this first degree murder? She states in detail how it was planned. Life without parole is appropriate for him and her. Whoever prosecuted this case needs to be re-evaluated!!

    I would like to see equal time for Julie Bowling on a broadcast!! That would serve the public better!! What about the effect on her family and friends? Or is she unimportant to wral?

    Neither of the murderers in this case deserve sympathy!! What we need now is a civil suit to address any assets bowling or his mistress may have.

    A sharp attorney will jump right on this and find heirs to Julie Bowling that are entitled to damages. Even if the heir is the State of NC. The perps deserve life without parole. They definitely don't deserve life with any material reward!

  • bomanicous Nov 26, 7:09 a.m.

    I got about 3 paragraphs into the article and realized I really don't care what she thinks or why. I'm just wondering why we have to not only support her but also have to hear from her.

    Why is she relevant to anything? Waste of an interview, there's many good people with amazing stories to be shared.

  • babyboomer47 Nov 26, 7:05 a.m.

    Did Rose wink at Mike Charbboneau during the interview?

  • exwife1956 Nov 25, 9:54 p.m.

    If she is so sorry for what she has done why ain't she shedding tears during the interview? She sure don't act like she regrets anything except getting caught. She should have just let him kill his worthless self, the whole world would have been alot better off, By the way, she needs to keep her eyes open while she is talking to somebody and quit shaking that ponytail. She acts like she is at a party.

  • bsteltenpohl Nov 25, 8:47 p.m.

    WRAL, you messed up writing the story. The issue is the difference in sentencing, and then you report that she got 29 and he got 189 - 236. This is outrageous! Holy Cow! She got 29 and he got 189 - 236! Oh, wait minute. The judge sentenced her to YEARS in prison and the other judge sentenced him to MONTHS in prison. Just plain bad writing.

  • anne53ozzy Nov 25, 7:51 p.m.

    I think the public is well served in listening to and observing this woman. It is often difficult if not impossible to spot a sociopathic person if you have not witnessed such behaviors. Clearly, her regret is focused on herself. This is a classic behavior by people who can and do committ terrible acts.

  • BottomLine Nov 25, 6:36 p.m.

    This isn't news - its 18 mins of rambling nonsense - this goof pulled the trigger and thinks she got the shaft ... what about the victim ? She should get the CHAIR.

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